Many sales organizations are spending a fortune implementing a sales process and training their team on it.
One data point for context: if you have a team of 25 people, this can easily cost you $10,000 to $50,000 to have a trainer come in a for a few hours over the course of a couple weeks.
After the training occurs, it’s not uncommon for everyone to get excited about the new things they learned, only to eventually revert to their old ways without the big sweeping change in sales execution leadership hoped for.
We talked to tons of sales leaders to try and understand why this is happening. Pretty consistently, we heard that the hardest challenge in this process is getting their team to effectively adopt the new sales methodology once it’s been rolled out.
In this post, we’re going to share how to reinforce and accelerate the adoption of your sales process once it’s been rolled out. But first…
Why Rolling Out a New Sales Process Often Fails
It’s important to understand the common pitfalls in this equation, before we outline how to avoid them.
Let’s just assume you hired a good sales trainer, the team was bought in, and you made a commitment as an organization to follow this new process.
Why do results often come up short?
Pitfall 1: Limited Visibility into Execution…a.k.a Absent Data
Your managers are not going to be able to be on every call. And if you have a call recording software, they’re probably only going to be able to watch 1 or 2 snippets per rep amongst the 10-20 calls they’re having every week.
This is why you need a way to document and verify the sales process in your CRM, so that managers can understand whether reps are effectively following the necessary steps that will make them successful, at scale.
For most companies, documentation takes the form of sales process fields living in Salesforce. One example would be rolling out MEDDPICC and then putting those fields into SFDC.
Getting these into Salesforce is the easy part.
The hard part is getting reps to consistently enter and update these sales process fields. And if they aren’t updated, then managers have no way to inspect the information so that they can coach and influence.
Many managers are fine at managing to the numbers…make more calls, set more meetings, etc.
But the best managers can coach to specific skills. In order to do this, they need to understand the deficits reps have in each part of the sales process — and this information is their compass.
Pitfall 2: Quality and Consistency of Manager Inspection
In a survey done by our friends at Gong — to over 700 sales managers — the number one thing managers wish they had is more time!
This lack of bandwidth often manifests in skimming on key managerial functions like deal inspection.
Many managers show up to 1:1’s, looking at a report once a week and really just focus on the late stage deals. This is all well and fine, but the bigger needle mover in terms of amplifying rep performance is coaching and correcting things earlier in the sales process.
Moreover, if you’re reps are having multiple calls a week, reviewing and coaching to the outcomes of these conversations should ideally be happening more than once a week so that they can make adjustments as quickly and often as possible to improve the quality of their conversations.
Pitfall 3: So Data’s Getting In, but the Quality Is Crap
So let’s say you actually are able to get information into Salesforce after most meetings.
The real indicator to whether your reps are following your sales process is the quality of that information. Just having it in there is table stakes.
If you’re using MEDDPICC and your rep’s input “they want to reduce costs” then they’re not following the sales process!
- By how much do they want to cut costs?
- Why and how are they going to do this?
This is where the data becomes your guide to the quality of conversations they are having, and subsequently where they need to be coached up.
Pitfall 4: Your Coaches Need to Be Coached
Let’s face it, many managers are super reps that haven’t been trained to coach.
In order to coach something effectively, you should have a high level of competency in it. It’s very hard to become an expert after a few days of classroom training.
So how can we expect our managers to coach effectively when they are learning at the same time as the reps?
Data backs this up. Studies from Gong.io indicate 83% of managers say they are very good at coaching and training, yet 48% of reps say they want better coaching! There’s a clear disconnect.
For these reasons, and probably many more, the implementation of a new sales process often yields less than optimal results.
Why Reinforcing Your Sales Process Matters
You probably spent a lot of money and the valuable time of your sales team getting this new process off the ground.
Aside from avoiding a sunk cost, there are more important things at stake:
- Scale – if you cannot implement a repeatable process that new people can successfully be plugged into, it’s going to be very hard to scale your team.
- Forecasting – a stat came out recently that sellers are actually closing only about 47% of the deals they forecast. This is absolutely bananas. Part of the problem is that managers often only look at close dates, stages, and forecast categories. These are fine for reporting, but if you really want to understand whether a deal is real, you need to look at the quality of the information in the sales process fields. This will be a stronger indicator of whether a deal is in a position to close.
- Rep Retention – young people expect to learn and be successful in their careers. If they don’t feel like they are upleveling their skills, it’s going to be hard to keep them around.
5 Easy Steps To Reinforce Your Sales Process
1. Make Sure Your Sales Process Lives in Salesforce
Again, you need a way to verify at scale whether people are having quality conversations and adopting your sales process.
Watching 1 out of 10 calls a week is not a viable solution. The sample size is too small, and it’s too time consuming.
Whatever sales process you implement needs to live in your CRM so that documentation of the outcomes are verifiable.
2. Timely and Accurate Information in the CRM
Once you have the infrastructure in Salesforce, you need to give your reps an easy way to update the information.
There are multiple ways to do this. At Troops, we obviously use our own product and rely on proactive prompts for reps to update their MEDDPICC fields after each meeting and before weekly deal reviews.
3. Frequent and Automated Manager Inspection and Verification
If your managers are looking at a grouped SFDC report 1x a week for 20 minutes with a rep, they are severely flying blind on the efficacy of many sales conversations.
Moreover, they are limiting their opportunities to help coach reps and make adjustments in a big way. Instead of correcting a behavior immediately after a conversation, they are risking that this continues for every other conversation until the next 1:1 (if they even bring it up).
At Troops, we try to give managers opportunities to inspect call outcomes on a daily basis. We do this in 2 ways:
Sales Process Field Specific Channels
We have a channel for each part of our sales process that managers and the entire team can subscribe to.
Anytime a field gets updated related to that specific part of the process, that information is shared and management can inspect it which gives them an opportunity to quickly interject and coach on the fly.
We love doing this in Slack because it’s quick and conversational which condenses the feedback loop for the reps. It also serves as a learning forum for other reps, based on feedback their counterparts are getting.
Stage Movement Channels with Exit Criteria
The other way we monitor how well people are following the sales process is by monitoring deal progression with the relevant exit criteria they should have at that point in the deal.
This gives management an opportunity to see the quality of the conversation that a rep is having and whether a deal is really where they claim it is. This is a great way to teach reps to have less “happy ears”, and learn what it takes in order to move buyers through the sales process.
4. Leadership Oversight of Frontline Managers
As stated earlier, a lot of the frontline managers that are responsible coaching and training reps are just learning the sales process themselves.
Therefore, their ability to coach needs to be monitored or else you’re flying blind until it might be too late.
This is one reason we like to surface these coaching moments and opportunities in Slack.
It gives executives eyes on the coaching conversations managers are having (if they are having them) and whether they are doing an effective job reinforcing the sales process.
5. Systems to Groove New Reps
As you bring on new reps and scale, you need an easy way to get reps up to speed quickly.
For a lot of companies, this takes the form of LMS systems and maybe internal wikis. This is helpful for the initial learning component, but most likely far less effective at reinforcing the learning once they are set out in the wild.
Ideally, you have a set of automations or workflows that are dead simple to follow for new team members that coaches them along the process.
Again, providing management oversight into the outcomes of these behaviors will be critical so that coaching can occur frequently and often.
What Accountability to Your Sales Process Means for Your Business
When you are able to implement and execute the plays above in one form or another, you will see improvements in sales process adherence which means:
- Reps will perform better
- Coaching moments will be easier to identify
- Faster ramp times
- Less surprises at the end of the quarter
You’ll also feel a whole lot better about that money you spent on the expensive sales trainer.
All of these things should contribute to your business growing faster, and everyone one your team being happier at their jobs…and who doesn’t want that!